School suspends students for circulating ‘5 ways to die’
RIFLE – Three female students at Rifle Middle School were suspended and may be expelled from school after they allegedly circulated 30 copies of a chain-letter-type document.The document, in Spanish, listed “five horrible ways to die,” and was placed into random lockers of seventh- and eighth-grade students during the morning of Friday, May 6. The story was first posted on http://www.postindependent.com on Friday. According to Re-2 School District superintendent Gary Pack, the message was downloaded from a Spanish Web site and was translated into English by school administrators to understand its contents.The five horrible ways to die listed in the message were: being smashed by a truck, hit with an ax on the head, shot in the head, run over by a train, and having stomach diarrhea. The message concluded with, “If you get this message, you need to read it and pass it along or you will die a horrible death.”Re-2 administrators emphasized that at no time did the document contain a hit list, make specific threats, or include any specific date or time of an event to take place.”We tracked it down and the students admitted it and were immediately suspended,” Pack said. The Rifle Police Department was advised of the situation and on site at Rifle Middle School on Friday. According to a press release, police have pledged their support in helping to handle the matter and are currently investigating the incident to determine if a crime was committed.The three suspects are being recommended for expulsion from the school district and will have a hearing next week.The incident comes on the heels of a separate occurrence on Tuesday, May 3, when all students received a letter and a classroom-by-classroom discussion from school staff about campus safety. School and district officials assured students that any threats to student safety will be taken seriously. The letter and discussion were prompted by reports that a young male student at the school allegedly boasted to some girls at a lunch table that a “Columbine-like” shooting could occur at Rifle Middle School.”The girls went home and told their parents, and that’s why we had the meeting on Tuesday,” Pack said. “We told them to stop it, and there was no threat and no hit list or individuals identified. But we take it seriously. That’s why we sent the letter home to the parents.”Nevertheless, the incidents have stirred some hysteria at the school, with kids calling their parents on their cell phones to report these activities, Pack said.”The safety of staff and students in the Garfield School District Re-2 is the No. 1 priority,” stated a district press release. “Students who need additional one-on-one time to process the day’s events will have counselors available to assist them.”A similar incident was reported in Garfield School District No. 16 on Thursday, May 5, after a threatening note was found scrawled on the wall of a stall in the girls’ bathroom at Grand Valley High School in Parachute. School officials did not release the contents of the message, but police were called immediately after the note was discovered between 2 and 2:30 p.m. (See sidebar).According to Sandy Hansen, public relations director for the district, a letter was to be sent out to parents on Friday.Contact Heidi Rice 625-3245, ext. email@example.com
An informational parent meeting of Rifle Middle School students is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 9, to discuss campus safety issues. Rifle Middle School and district staff, as well as law enforcement personnel, will be on hand to listen to concerns as well as give information. All Rifle Middle School parents are encouraged to attend. For questions or for more information, please call Gary Pack at the superintendents office, 625-7600, or at home, 984-2042; or RMS principal Mark MacHale, 625-7900, or at home, 625-5239.
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